Promise to Read IN COLD BLOOD Until

Self screwed up her courage and dug into In Cold Blood.

She has sworn that the minute she gets to the murder scene, she will allow herself to stop reading.

In the meantime, this is like Chronicle of a Death Foretold.

It is fascinating how Capote gets inside each family member’s head and lays out the map of their last day.

The sixteen-year-old daughter, a pretty young thing, went way over her curfew because she was out with her boyfriend. She came home at 2 a.m. (The murders happened at 4 a.m.)

The father (48 years old) stayed up later than his usual bedtime (11 a.m.) — perhaps he was waiting for his daughter.

The mother (45 years old) was a neurasthenic who was gradually recovering a bit of her old sense of balance (And we feel so hopeful for her, too.)

The youngest in the family was only 14 and self forgets what this boy was up to, but anyhoo.

At 4 a.m. the killers will enter their home, so UGH.

In the meantime, Christmas cookies, anyone?

Self has to keep reminding herself that until Capote wrote this book, no one had written about real-life murders in this way before. Now, the book doesn’t seem new at all. There have been so many books like this. But back then (1965), when Capote wrote it, it was a game-changer.

Amazing how Capote made this ordinary middle-class family worthy of a novel (The family’s name was Clutter. An Americanized form of the family’s German immigrant roots: the American forebears were named Klotter) And that act of imagination was so amazingly impudent. Sheer bravura. The facts are made so compelling because Capote’s journalistic style of narration makes them seem anything but manipulated. He could have said something like: AND THIS POOR GIRL, AFTER KISSING HER BOYFRIEND GOODNIGHT, WILL BE MURDERED ONLY TWO HOURS LATER. But he doesn’t. He simply follows the family through a very ordinary day.

(The movie version — which her older sister forced her to watch because she knew self was a sissy and would have nightmares forever — had Robert Blake playing one of the killers. Brilliant piece of casting there.)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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